6 Great Cities to Study in the UK

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Casita Team

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28 February, 2022

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5 mins read

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From sprawling cities with amazing architecture to beautiful countryside and unique culture, The United Kingdom offers cities for every taste.. The UK is immensely popular among international students; in fact, the UK is the second most popular destination for overseas students in the world.

This diversity means that university campuses are very multicultural. You can meet people from all over the world anytime if you are studying in the UK.

With a country that grand, you might be wondering what are the best cities for students in the UK? We will share with you some of the best places that can provide the perfect accommodation and environment for studying.

We based our choices for the six great cities to study in the UK on six parameters. They are:

  • University Rankings: The quality of institutions in the city and their number.

  • Student Mix: The number of international students in the city.

  • Desirability: How appealing the city is to students, based on safety and available opportunities.

  • Employer Activity: The likelihood of top graduate employers to recruit students from the city.

  • Affordability: The cost of tuition fees and living costs.

  • Student View: The experiences of other students living in that city.

With a lot of options of entertainment and cultures, as well as access to some of the top universities in the country, these cities offer a perfect balance between life and school.

1. London

We can’t make a list of the best UK cities without mentioning the country’s capital, which has also been recognised as the 1st best student city in the world by QS Quacquarelli Symonds. The QS Best Student Cities Ranking combines independent data about a range of factors important to college students, such as affordability, quality-of-life, the standard of universities, and the feedback from previous students who have studied in that location.


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London is home to 17 of the best Universities in the UK and also the world’s second-highest number of top-ranked universities in one city. These include Imperial College London, UCL (University College London), King’s College London (KCL), and Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL).

Apart from London’s excellent academic institutions, the diversity of the people, employment prospects and social opportunities are some of the reasons why international students love this city. 

More than just schools, London also provides students with easy access to top sports facilities, such as Lord’s Cricket Ground, Wimbledon, and Wembley Stadium. Options for restaurants are also abundant. Even for those who are on a tight budget, many things can be done for free during your free time from schooling.

London gets full marks on almost all the parameters; however, getting your student housing can get a little bit expensive. We pride ourselves here at Casita on offering the best rates for student accommodation in London. Knowing the hacks of public transport can also help you save money, check our guide to transport in London to learn more.

2. Edinburgh

Ranking in this year's top 15, Edinburgh has been named as the UK’s second-best student city after London for the sixth time in a row. The great Scottish capital has been acclaimed worldwide and is an absolute student’s paradise, which explains why 40% of the population in the city consists of international students. 

Known for its plethora of cultural attractions, Edinburgh is one of the liveliest cities in the UK. For those who love to party, the unmissable “Edinburgh Fringe Festival” takes place every August. It’s considered the world’s largest arts festival as it attracts thousands of people. 

Edinburgh is home to top universities, including the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University, and Queen Margaret University. Students who have studied in the city adore the city’s combination of nature, history, world-class facilities and diversity; they also rate it amongst the best student cities in the UK. Edinburgh also really shines in being affordable. Student housing in Edinburgh is miles cheaper than the other best UK student cities.


3. Glasgow

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest and most populous city. It is home to two world-class, highly ranked universities, the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde, one of the world's oldest universities. This is not the only reason for it being one of the top student cities in the UK, though. Glasgow is one of the UK’s leading hubs of research and academia, as well as entertainment and culture. 

The city packs tons of extracurricular activities that will surely make your life exciting and fun. It is also the largest shopping destination in the country, next to London. The impressive options for eating out and having a night out will make gourmands feel at home. Football is also very popular here; and for your artistic side, you can visit the Scottish Ballet, Opera and National Theatre of Scotland. You will surely have a long list of activities to enjoy outside of your school.

Although there are substantial fees for international students studying in Glasgow, the cost of living and student housing rent is still much cheaper than in many other English cities, particularly London and others in the south. 

4. Manchester 

One of the first things that come to mind when you hear the word “Manchester” is football, and the thanks, of course, go to the two football giants, Manchester United and Manchester City. Home to world-class universities, such as the University of Manchester, the University of Salford, and Manchester Metropolitan University; Manchester ranks 30th in the QS Best Student Cities 2022. 

The city has a fun-packed student culture that gives London a run for its money. It’s famous for its arts, history, and vibrant music scene, being the birthplace of some of the best and big-name brands, such as Oasis, The Smiths, and Joy Division. Manchester has been the subject of multi-million-pound renovations in recent years, adding life to plenty of accommodations that will surely suit every budget.

5. Coventry

Coventry is described by the students who studied at its universities as a very friendly and multicultural city. They also praised the city’s great affordability regarding student rooms prices, and how it feels safe due to its low crime rates. The city is also a very diverse place to study, with almost 42% of its students coming from outside of the UK.

Coventry is home to both Coventry University and the University of Warwick; the latter is ranked in the world’s top 65. Thanks to the strong reputation of its universities as well as the city’s long history of leadership in manufacturing and design, Coventry gets a strong rating from graduate employers.

Coventry was awarded the title of “The UK City of Culture 2021” because of its several art galleries and theatres. The city also has a number of large venues in and around it; they can be used for both music concerts and major sports events. Warwick University’s Arts Centre is one of the largest arts centres in the UK. It houses various performance spaces, galleries and a cinema.

6. Newcastle

This is the largest city in northeast England and is slowly becoming one of the best student cities in the UK. The city is known for many things, one of them being the amazing architecture of the Sage building. It is also famous for its distinctive local dialect, the “Geordie”; in England, it is the closest to 1,500-year-old Anglo-Saxon language.

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Newcastle is vibrant and welcoming; it has everything a big city needs to attract a lot of young people. The city’s diversity, low cost of student accommodation, and beautiful surroundings make it liked by a lot of international students. Another reason, of course, is its prestigious universities, like Durham University, Newcastle University, and Northumbria University at Newcastle.

The city is also home to plenty of cultural, entertainment, and sports options. It annually hosts the world's largest half marathon, the Great North Run, and it is also the birthplace of the star footballer Alan Shearer.

Now you know the best six student cities in the UK, consider one of them for your plan next year!


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